Iowa Writes

KATHRYN DUFFY
Traffic


A population marching centric, pulls

closer together inside the train, passing

by my bedroom window late at night,

the pounding of their feet going nowhere

as I lie listening to their stifled cries,

"Stop!" again, again, then "Stop!" again.

A whistle pierces the air's stillness, again,

as the engine carrying women and children pulls

them to where I won't hear their cries.

Through tunnels underground they go, passing

cities they might soon live in. Nowhere

is there anyone that will save them tonight.

A population marching centric, pulls

closer together inside the train, passing

by my bedroom window late at night,

the pounding of their feet going nowhere

as I lie listening to their stifled cries,

"Stop!" again, again, then "Stop!" again.

A whistle pierces the air's stillness, again,

as the engine carrying women and children pulls

them to where I won't hear their cries.

Through tunnels underground they go, passing

cities they might soon live in. Nowhere

is there anyone that will save them tonight.

The traffic of them on the street at night,

their marching taking them away again,

while I stare out my window and nowhere

can they be seen—not the limo that pulls

up to the curb choosing and picking, and passing

money that blows through an innocent cry.

The sounds of the train outside my window, cries

sent by its horn, keep me awake at night,

Guilt wrapping itself in a blanket of passing

time when nothing is being done once again.

And if I lying here, were she who's pulled

From someplace that may as well be nowhere,

then she's freight in a train, doesn't know where

she's going other than the telling cries

of a population marching, centric, pulling

her in a beating dance of survival in the night,

she asking if she'll ever be home again,

wondering if anyone else is passing

through the same streets of traffic passing

faster, drivers not looking anywhere,

not at the trails left in the sky again

by the same bird who looking down cries

at the spectacle of traffic in the night:

a population marching, centric, pulls

at the cries of young girls in the night

who go passing through streets with nowhere

or no one to pull them closer home again.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


KATHRYN DUFFY

Kathryn Duffy is an undergraduate at The University of Iowa pursuing an English Major. She enjoys writing both poetry and fiction and will begin the Undergraduate Creative Writing Track this fall.  She's also interested in editing and publishing and plans to write full-time in the future.

This page was first displayed
on August 07, 2009

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